By Regina Butler/Pontotoc Progress
A special switch was thrown at the Three Rivers Solid Waste Landfill on Wednesday, marking the successful completion and activation of a landfill gas-to-energy initiative.
Officials from the Tennessee Valley Authority, Pontotoc Electric Power Association and Three Rivers, as well as U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker and U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee attended a dedication ceremony.
A project more than a year in the making, the pilot program was started in Pontotoc because of the landfill.
TVA partnered with the Pontotoc Electric Power Association and Three Rivers Solid Waste Management Authority to produce green energy.
Three Rivers Authority Chairman Rick Faucette said the project “is a milestone of Three Rivers Solid Waste Management Authority and we thank all the players on this team for making it happen.”
The authority spent some $1 million to build a methane gas collection system. Another $1.2 million was spent for a generator to convert the gas into electricity.
About 1.2 megawatts of electricity can be generated, and it’s fed directly into the TVA power grid.
“Projects like this one represent the kind of forward-thinking, cost-effective investment we need as we move toward energy independence in America,” said Wicker. “If you have progress you are going to have waste, and need to dispose of it. I hope Pontotoc’s participation in TVA’s Generation Partner’s program will be an inspiration to other communities.”
PEPA is the second oldest rural electric cooperative in the U.S. and has been a pioneer in rural electrification since 1935.
“Pontotoc Electric Power Association is proud to be a part of this exciting an successful effort with TVA and Three Rivers to bring green power to the grid,” said Chuck Howell, PEPA’s general manager.
Nunnelee praised the partnership that made the energy initiative possible.
“We live in a region where local, state and federal government officials find a way to get things done,” he said. “There is a direct link between affordable electricity, job creation and quality of life.”
David Sparks, Mississippi’s TVA Customer Relations official, said this is just “one of many continuing energy partnerships in Mississippi that TVA looks forward to growing. The enthusiasm, teamwork and cooperation provided by Three Rivers and Pontotoc Electric have been the driving force behind the success of this project.”
The ceremony concluded with dignitaries flipping switches to turn on a light directly connected to the green energy power source.